"I Have Strong Medicine, You See": Strategic Responses to Racial Microaggressions

Sara Houshmand, Lisa B. Spanierman, Jack De Stefano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


In this qualitative study, the authors examined responses to racial microaggressions among community members in Montreal, Canada. To this end, using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA; Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009) we conducted individual interviews with Black Canadian (n = 5) and Indigenous (n = 5) community members who pursued employment directly after secondary education. Seven themes emerged from the data (e.g., calling out perpetrators, empowering self and others, choosing to not engage, and using humor). Response strategies convey 4 primary features: (a) importance of social support in accessing resources and confronting racial microaggressions, (b) use of culturally grounded strategies as a form of resistance, (c) multifaceted use of humor to confront and to minimize racial microaggressions, and (d) intentional use of avoidance among women participants. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of counseling psychology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Coping
  • Racial microaggressions
  • Responses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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